Written by: Jenny Hale
With the New Year already in full swing and the holiday rush over, it’s important for veterans looking for employment to get a start on the job search process.
While employment for post-9/11 veterans may be difficult to find, the statistics on unemployment are redeeming. In 2013, the unemployment rate for women decreased 6.9 percent and for men, 6.5 percent (source).
With these positive statistics and a veteran’s determination, finding a job in 2015 can be accomplished.
There are several resources for veterans trying to write a resume.
- One of these is Resume Engine, which allows you to choose the military branch you participated in and create a resume around it. The site also allows you to choose whether or not your resume can be searched for on Resume Engine, creating additional awareness.
- The Veterans Employment Center is a government program that helps veterans find career opportunities. The site offers links to create a resume with an automatic builder, as well as a service to help translate military jargon into civilian terms.
- VetNet is a free, one-stop shop for the veteran and military family communities as they transition to the civilian workforce. The online resource includes innovative networking tools, career training, job opportunities and entrepreneurship classes—all offered online and at absolutely no cost to participants. The VetNet Basic Training Track is the channel for those just beginning their search; veterans can get themselves squared away with resume writing workshops and connect to a database of over one million veteran-preferred jobs. You can view all previous Hangouts on their YouTube channel or join them live on VetNet to participate in the conversation and post questions during the live event.
Gaining the Skills
There are several resources available to veterans to gain the skills needed to get hired. These include:
- ArmyCOOL and NavyCOOL help service members receive training and certification licenses for new careers.
- Veterans Career Transition Program (VCTP) helps post-9/11 veterans, their spouses, and spouses of active duty military gain career transition skills by following three online course paths that include professional skills, tech and an independent study. The Tech Track is focused on preparing transitioning service members and spouses for their next careers in operations or IT. Participants become official Syracuse University students and receive non-credit certificates upon completion. Where applicable, the program will pay the graduate’s associated exam fees for industry certification.
According to Career Key, 65-80 percent of all jobs are found through networking.
Even before you have the skills and the resume ready, it’s important to network with individuals around you, as well as nationally (or perhaps internationally) to make connections that could benefit you in the future.
Many of these connections may have already occurred throughout your time in service. These connections may include your brothers and sisters in arms, families you met along the way and businesses you came into contact with during your time in service. However, it is also important to network with individuals outside the military and create relationships with people in careers that you have an interest in.
LinkedIn is a great social media site to use for networking. In addition, make sure to meet your networking contacts in person to create a sustainable relationship. According to Hireology, 73 percent of hiring managers have successfully hired a candidate through social recruiting. LinkedIn also has a community specifically for veterans.
Finding the Job
Exploring options at a local career fair, or even a virtual one, can help you hone in on a job or a career that you may find interesting.
The United States Chamber Foundation has a listing of upcoming job fairs. A few are mentioned below. Several of these are specifically for veterans looking to transition into a civilian job field.
- Detroit Hiring Fair: February 7th
- Quantico Hiring Fair: February 11th
- Omaha Hiring Fair: February 18th
- Dallas Hiring Fair: February 24th
- Atlanta Hiring Fair: February 25th
- Recovering Warrior & Caregiver Virtual Job Fair: March 3rd
Interview skills are important and a common way to improve them is simply by practicing. Ask your friend or a family member to help you practice simple interview questions. The top question surveyed to be asked in an interview is “tell me about yourself.” While this is a broad question, it’s important to have an answer that reveals your strengths and skills.
Knowing information about the company you are interviewing with will also help your interviewer realize that you are interested in the job and have done your homework on what the position entails.
Being interactive is another strategy when interviewing. Ask the company’s interviewer questions about the job, their needs and the firm itself. This will create an interview that is also beneficial to you and not just your employer because you may learn about the organization before you are offered a job there.
2015 is a promising year, especially with organizations like 100,000 Jobs Mission for veterans. Their goal is to hire 100,000 veterans by the year 2020. With a network of over 170 companies looking to hire veterans, they exceed their goal that was started in 2011 and have hired 190,046 veterans to date. For more information and to learn how to get involved, visit www.veteranjobsmission.com.
Jenny Hale is currently a Public Relations graduate student at the Newhouse School of Public Communications. Hale is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management with degrees in Marketing and Supply Chain Management. Her minor is in Native American Studies. Hale has spent time volunteering at the VA Hospital and is an active military and veteran supporter. She is currently a public relations and marketing intern at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families.